World Economic Forum HQ Announces Belfast Conference

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  • The World Economic Forum HQ in Geneva has announced that Belfast will host ‘Shape Europe 2018’ after an intense bidding process against three other major European cities – Brussels, Amsterdam and Istanbul. Shape Europe is recognised as one of the Davos Group’s most forward-focused and influential annual conferences.

    The bid was conceived and delivered by young people from Northern Ireland with support provided by Deloitte and Belfast City Council. The three-day event will be delivered in August 2018 and will welcome 300+ international delegates to the city. The conference theme, ‘Views from the Fault Line,’ is designed to underline the unique challenges and opportunities of the Brexit era for Belfast.

    High profile global and local thought leaders will be invited to speak and chair a wide range of discussions, whilst also highlighting the conflict resolution skills required to build a better city.

    The World Economic Forum, founded in Geneva in 1971, is a preeminent think-tank and advocate for sustainable economic growth and balanced societal progress. The Global Shapers Community (GSC) was founded in 2011 to widen the Forum’s engagement with young people, given that the world’s largest demographic (over 50%) are 27 years of age or younger.

    Kain Craigs, Founder of Iconic Golf Group (IGG) and Curator of the Belfast Global Shapers Hub, said: "I would like to extend my thanks to all of the Shapers and supporters who contributed to this bid. The win says a lot about Belfast’s potential to reinvent itself as a standout 4th Industrial Revolution hub of innovation. The conference and its many threads will weave a lifetime of links for Belfast to thrive on in the ever more interdependent global economy.”

    Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, congratulated all involved in the win saying: “It is remarkable that Belfast Global Shapers have won the rights to bring this exceptional event to Northern Ireland against such formidable competition. The World Economic Forum’s goals and conference themes match my vision - and indeed the Council's - for a Global Belfast.”

    In January this year, the Belfast Global Shapers hub also won the opportunity to live stream a debate on “Cities of Innovation” into the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Belfast was recognised for having delivered the 'best international session' with strong competition from Seattle and Vancouver.

    David Gavaghan, Chairman of the Confederation of British Industry, NI said: "It has been fantastic to watch the Belfast Shapers’ bid at close range and their ambition to go for this prestigious event. This conference, with its lead-in and legacy elements, will play a key part in the transformation of Belfast into a premier European City. Most important of all, it gives our young people the chance to believe that they are shaping our exciting future.”

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